As soon as you walk into the Beef & Boards lobby for Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville you can feel the excitement. There is a large photo op banner waiting for you to capture that perfect memory shot. The B&B staff waiting to greet you and escort you to your table are all decked out in island wear. You know, those wild flowered/palm tree printed shirts. Even House Manager Miguel Jardon greeted us sporting a marvelous island print suit. Pre-show island music also adds to the anticipation of an entertainment filled evening of music and hilarity. Escape to Margaritaville is truly a slice of musical paradise and a great way to end the summer.
Both long time and new Jimmy Buffett fans aka “Parrot Heads” will love this energetic production. From a B&B press release: “This show is a musical comedy featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics including “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Margaritaville,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Fins,” “Volcano,” and many more.” Also listed are the book authors Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley.
The story takes place on an unnamed Caribbean island. The well worn resort hosts week long tour groups and the resort staff, well, tries to put up with their guests. Fireworks erupt when two gals from Cincinnati show up, one planning to be married in a week, the other an all work no play environmentalist. The bartender Brick (Brett Mutter), likes the soon to be married Tammy (Hannah Elizabeth Boswell), and singer/songwriter Tully (Kyle Southern) sets his sights on Rachel (Amanda Tong) the environmentalist.
The set design is the mastermind of Michael Layton, including the wonderful backscreen that displays both rhythmic ocean waves and fiery volcano lava. Terry Woods directs the orchestra, Travis Grant designs wigs and costumes. Ron Morgan’s choreography is stunning, and Douglas E. Stark directs with a flair for professional theater quality often missing in some venues.
The cast of Margaritaville work together seamlessly. Kyle Southern and Amanda Tong realistically develop their chemistry as the show progresses. You have to enjoy Brett Mutter and Hannah Elizabeth Boswell as they work through her impending marriage standing in the way of their growing attraction. Her fiancé makes it very easy for you to love to hate him. Logan Moore plays Chad as a jerk flawlessly. Ray Gleaves successfully plays two roles.
Rachael Bibbs makes her debut at B&B playing the part of Marley, the manager of the resort. In addition to her managerial duties, she has to act in somewhat of a den mother role for guests and staff. B&B veteran and one of this venue’s favorites, Jeff Stockberger fills the role of local drunk J.D. Always seen with a longneck in his hand, Stockberger shines as usual. His grasp of comedy including perfect comedic timing makes his performance a key part of the success of this show.
To purchase tickets online, visit beefandboards.com. Tickets are also available by calling the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre Box Office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays.